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Ryan Michael Drenan

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionWake Forest School of Medicine
DepartmentPhysiology and Pharmacology
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    University of California San DiegoBS12/2000Biology
    Washington UniversityPh.D.01/2006Cell Biology
    California Institute of TechnologyPostdoc Fellowship05/2011Neuropharmacology

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    We study the physiological processes regulated by native nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), a large family of ligand gated ion channel proteins. These receptors mediate key aspects of cholinergic signaling in the brain and are involved in several important cognitive processes, including motivated behavior, affective behavior, attention and learning/memory. Aberrant nAChR activity is linked to several neurological diseases/disorders, such as nicotine addiction, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. We use a broad range of techniques, including patch clamp electrophysiology, confocal and two-photon imaging, immunohistochemistry and behavioral approaches.


    Collapse Research 
    Collapse research activities and funding
    F32DA021492     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Mar 31, 2007 - Nov 30, 2009
    NIH/NIDA
    Nicotinic ACh Receptors and Noradrenergic Neurotransmission in Nicotine Addiction
    Role: Principal Investigator

    K99DA030396     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Sep 17, 2010 - May 31, 2011
    NIH/NIDA
    Alpha6* nAChRs in Dopamine Transmission and Nicotine Dependence
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R00DA030396     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Jun 15, 2011 - May 31, 2014
    NIH/NIDA
    Alpha6* nAChRs in Dopamine Transmission and Nicotine Dependence
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R01DA035942     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Aug 1, 2014 - May 31, 2024
    NIH/NIDA
    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor function in the mesolimbic dopamine system
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R01DA040626     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Aug 1, 2016 - May 31, 2021
    NIH/NIDA
    Identifying nicotine withdrawal mechanisms hidden within habenular complexity
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R21DA045507     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Sep 30, 2017 - Aug 31, 2019
    NIH/NIDA
    Nicotinic receptor gene editing vectors
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R21DA044460     (DRENAN, RYAN MICHAEL)Aug 1, 2018 - Jul 31, 2020
    NIH/NIDA
    Photoactivatable ligands for nicotinic optopharmacology
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Arvin MC, Jin XT, Yan Y, Wang Y, Ramsey MD, Kim VJ, Beckley NA, Henry BA, Drenan RM. Chronic Nicotine Exposure Alters the Neurophysiology of Habenulo-Interpeduncular Circuitry. J Neurosci. 2019 May 29; 39(22):4268-4281. PMID: 30867261.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Arvin MC, Wokosin DL, Banala S, Lavis LD, Drenan RM. Probing Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Function in Mouse Brain Slices via Laser Flash Photolysis of Photoactivatable Nicotine. J Vis Exp. 2019 Jan 25; (143). PMID: 30735191.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Peng C, Yan Y, Kim VJ, Engle SE, Berry JN, McIntosh JM, Neve RL, Drenan RM. Gene editing vectors for studying nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in cholinergic transmission. Eur J Neurosci. 2019 Aug; 50(3):2224-2238. PMID: 29779223.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Yan Y, Peng C, Arvin MC, Jin XT, Kim VJ, Ramsey MD, Wang Y, Banala S, Wokosin DL, McIntosh JM, Lavis LD, Drenan RM. Nicotinic Cholinergic Receptors in VTA Glutamate Neurons Modulate Excitatory Transmission. Cell Rep. 2018 May 22; 23(8):2236-2244. PMID: 29791835.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Banala S, Arvin MC, Bannon NM, Jin XT, Macklin JJ, Wang Y, Peng C, Zhao G, Marshall JJ, Gee KR, Wokosin DL, Kim VJ, McIntosh JM, Contractor A, Lester HA, Kozorovitskiy Y, Drenan RM, Lavis LD. Photoactivatable drugs for nicotinic optopharmacology. Nat Methods. 2018 05; 15(5):347-350. PMID: 29578537.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Parker RL, O'Neill HC, Henley BM, Wageman CR, Drenan RM, Marks MJ, Miwa JM, Grady SR, Lester HA. Deletion of lynx1 reduces the function of a6* nicotinic receptors. PLoS One. 2017; 12(12):e0188715. PMID: 29206881.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Arias HR, Jin X, Feuerbach D, Drenan RM. Selectivity of coronaridine congeners at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and inhibitory activity on mouse medial habenula. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2017 11; 92:202-209. PMID: 29042244.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Peng C, Engle SE, Yan Y, Weera MM, Berry JN, Arvin MC, Zhao G, McIntosh JM, Chester JA, Drenan RM. Altered nicotine reward-associated behavior following a4 nAChR subunit deletion in ventral midbrain. PLoS One. 2017; 12(7):e0182142. PMID: 28759616.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Hurtado-Zavala JI, Ramachandran B, Ahmed S, Halder R, Bolleyer C, Awasthi A, Stahlberg MA, Wagener RJ, Anderson K, Drenan RM, Lester HA, Miwa JM, Staiger JF, Fischer A, Dean C. TRPV1 regulates excitatory innervation of OLM neurons in the hippocampus. Nat Commun. 2017 07 19; 8:15878. PMID: 28722015.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Lee HJ, Zhang D, Jiang Y, Wu X, Shih PY, Liao CS, Bungart B, Xu XM, Drenan R, Bartlett E, Cheng JX. Label-Free Vibrational Spectroscopic Imaging of Neuronal Membrane Potential. J Phys Chem Lett. 2017 May 04; 8(9):1932-1936. PMID: 28407470.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Shih PY, McIntosh JM, Drenan RM. Nicotine Dependence Reveals Distinct Responses from Neurons and Their Resident Nicotinic Receptors in Medial Habenula. Mol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec; 88(6):1035-44. PMID: 26429939.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Berry JN, Engle SE, McIntosh JM, Drenan RM. a6-Containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in midbrain dopamine neurons are poised to govern dopamine-mediated behaviors and synaptic plasticity. Neuroscience. 2015 Sep 24; 304:161-75. PMID: 26210579.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Wieskopf JS, Mathur J, Limapichat W, Post MR, Al-Qazzaz M, Sorge RE, Martin LJ, Zaykin DV, Smith SB, Freitas K, Austin JS, Dai F, Zhang J, Marcovitz J, Tuttle AH, Slepian PM, Clarke S, Drenan RM, Janes J, Al Sharari S, Segall SK, Aasvang EK, Lai W, Bittner R, Richards CI, Slade GD, Kehlet H, Walker J, Maskos U, Changeux JP, Devor M, Maixner W, Diatchenko L, Belfer I, Dougherty DA, Su AI, Lummis SC, Imad Damaj M, Lester HA, Patapoutian A, Mogil JS. The nicotinic a6 subunit gene determines variability in chronic pain sensitivity via cross-inhibition of P2X2/3 receptors. Sci Transl Med. 2015 May 13; 7(287):287ra72. PMID: 25972004.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Bordia T, McGregor M, McIntosh JM, Drenan RM, Quik M. Evidence for a role for a6(*) nAChRs in l-dopa-induced dyskinesias using Parkinsonian a6(*) nAChR gain-of-function mice. Neuroscience. 2015 Jun 04; 295:187-97. PMID: 25813704.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Engle SE, McIntosh JM, Drenan RM. Nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance ventral tegmental area AMPA receptor function via a6-containing nicotinic receptors. Neuropharmacology. 2015 Apr; 91:13-22. PMID: 25484253.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Shih PY, Engle SE, Oh G, Deshpande P, Puskar NL, Lester HA, Drenan RM. Differential expression and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in subdivisions of medial habenula. J Neurosci. 2014 Jul 16; 34(29):9789-802. PMID: 25031416.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Henderson BJ, Srinivasan R, Nichols WA, Dilworth CN, Gutierrez DF, Mackey ED, McKinney S, Drenan RM, Richards CI, Lester HA. Nicotine exploits a COPI-mediated process for chaperone-mediated up-regulation of its receptors. J Gen Physiol. 2014 Jan; 143(1):51-66. PMID: 24378908.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Wang Y, Lee JW, Oh G, Grady SR, McIntosh JM, Brunzell DH, Cannon JR, Drenan RM. Enhanced synthesis and release of dopamine in transgenic mice with gain-of-function a6* nAChRs. J Neurochem. 2014 Apr; 129(2):315-27. PMID: 24266758.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Engle SE, Shih PY, McIntosh JM, Drenan RM. a4a6ß2* nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activation on ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons is sufficient to stimulate a depolarizing conductance and enhance surface AMPA receptor function. Mol Pharmacol. 2013 Sep; 84(3):393-406. PMID: 23788655.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Powers MS, Broderick HJ, Drenan RM, Chester JA. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing a6 subunits contribute to alcohol reward-related behaviours. Genes Brain Behav. 2013 Jul; 12(5):543-53. PMID: 23594044.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Engle SE, Broderick HJ, Drenan RM. Local application of drugs to study nicotinic acetylcholine receptor function in mouse brain slices. J Vis Exp. 2012 Oct 29; (68):e50034. PMID: 23128482.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Drenan RM, Lester HA. Insights into the neurobiology of the nicotinic cholinergic system and nicotine addiction from mice expressing nicotinic receptors harboring gain-of-function mutations. Pharmacol Rev. 2012 Oct; 64(4):869-79. PMID: 22885704.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Mackey ED, Engle SE, Kim MR, O'Neill HC, Wageman CR, Patzlaff NE, Wang Y, Grady SR, McIntosh JM, Marks MJ, Lester HA, Drenan RM. a6* nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression and function in a visual salience circuit. J Neurosci. 2012 Jul 25; 32(30):10226-37. PMID: 22836257.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Cohen BN, Mackey ED, Grady SR, McKinney S, Patzlaff NE, Wageman CR, McIntosh JM, Marks MJ, Lester HA, Drenan RM. Nicotinic cholinergic mechanisms causing elevated dopamine release and abnormal locomotor behavior. Neuroscience. 2012 Jan 03; 200:31-41. PMID: 22079576.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Xiao C, Srinivasan R, Drenan RM, Mackey ED, McIntosh JM, Lester HA. Characterizing functional a6ß2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in vitro: mutant ß2 subunits improve membrane expression, and fluorescent proteins reveal responsive cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Oct 15; 82(8):852-61. PMID: 21609715.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Gunapala KM, Chang D, Hsu CT, Manaye K, Drenan RM, Switzer RC, Steele AD. Striatal pathology underlies prion infection-mediated hyperactivity in mice. Prion. 2010 Oct-Dec; 4(4):302-15. PMID: 20948312.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Drenan RM, Grady SR, Steele AD, McKinney S, Patzlaff NE, McIntosh JM, Marks MJ, Miwa JM, Lester HA. Cholinergic modulation of locomotion and striatal dopamine release is mediated by alpha6alpha4* nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. J Neurosci. 2010 Jul 21; 30(29):9877-89. PMID: 20660270.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Grady SR, Drenan RM, Breining SR, Yohannes D, Wageman CR, Fedorov NB, McKinney S, Whiteaker P, Bencherif M, Lester HA, Marks MJ. Structural differences determine the relative selectivity of nicotinic compounds for native alpha 4 beta 2*-, alpha 6 beta 2*-, alpha 3 beta 4*- and alpha 7-nicotine acetylcholine receptors. Neuropharmacology. 2010 Jun; 58(7):1054-66. PMID: 20114055.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Drenan RM, Grady SR, Whiteaker P, McClure-Begley T, McKinney S, Miwa JM, Bupp S, Heintz N, McIntosh JM, Bencherif M, Marks MJ, Lester HA. In vivo activation of midbrain dopamine neurons via sensitized, high-affinity alpha 6 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Neuron. 2008 Oct 09; 60(1):123-36. PMID: 18940593.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Drenan RM, Nashmi R, Imoukhuede P, Just H, McKinney S, Lester HA. Subcellular trafficking, pentameric assembly, and subunit stoichiometry of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing fluorescently labeled alpha6 and beta3 subunits. Mol Pharmacol. 2008 Jan; 73(1):27-41. PMID: 17932221.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Osei-Owusu P, Sun X, Drenan RM, Steinberg TH, Blumer KJ. Regulation of RGS2 and second messenger signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells by cGMP-dependent protein kinase. J Biol Chem. 2007 Oct 26; 282(43):31656-65. PMID: 17681944.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Drenan RM, Doupnik CA, Jayaraman M, Buchwalter AL, Kaltenbronn KM, Huettner JE, Linder ME, Blumer KJ. R7BP augments the function of RGS7*Gbeta5 complexes by a plasma membrane-targeting mechanism. J Biol Chem. 2006 Sep 22; 281(38):28222-31. PMID: 16867977.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Drenan RM, Doupnik CA, Boyle MP, Muglia LJ, Huettner JE, Linder ME, Blumer KJ. Palmitoylation regulates plasma membrane-nuclear shuttling of R7BP, a novel membrane anchor for the RGS7 family. J Cell Biol. 2005 May 23; 169(4):623-33. PMID: 15897264.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Tsang CK, Bertram PG, Ai W, Drenan R, Zheng XF. Chromatin-mediated regulation of nucleolar structure and RNA Pol I localization by TOR. EMBO J. 2003 Nov 17; 22(22):6045-56. PMID: 14609951.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Drenan RM, Liu X, Bertram PG, Zheng XF. FKBP12-rapamycin-associated protein or mammalian target of rapamycin (FRAP/mTOR) localization in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 02; 279(1):772-8. PMID: 14578359.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Choi JH, Bertram PG, Drenan R, Carvalho J, Zhou HH, Zheng XF. The FKBP12-rapamycin-associated protein (FRAP) is a CLIP-170 kinase. EMBO Rep. 2002 Oct; 3(10):988-94. PMID: 12231510.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Ostrom RS, Gregorian C, Drenan RM, Xiang Y, Regan JW, Insel PA. Receptor number and caveolar co-localization determine receptor coupling efficiency to adenylyl cyclase. J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 09; 276(45):42063-9. PMID: 11533056.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Ostrom RS, Gregorian C, Drenan RM, Gabot K, Rana BK, Insel PA. Key role for constitutive cyclooxygenase-2 of MDCK cells in basal signaling and response to released ATP. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2001 Aug; 281(2):C524-31. PMID: 11443051.
      View in: PubMed
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